For some, battle over Bay Area Confederate monuments isn't over

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Ancestors of Ken Brandon knew service, sacrifice and defeat.

"He came back whipped," he said of James Henry Brandon, who was captured in 1863 during the battle of Missionary Ridge. "The South lost, that's all there was to it."

Now, the Brandon Confederate veterans have what could pass for the biggest headstone in town. Thanks to hundreds of thousands of dollars in private donations, Memoria in Aeterna -- "in everlasting remembrance" -- was moved from the Hillsborough courthouse in downtown Tampa to their private family cemetery. 

Protests had boiled up, and Commissioner Les Miller offered the statue to the Brandons to get it off public property.

"What's more appropriate than being laid to rest in a cemetery?" said Ken Brandon.

Modern-day Confederate sympathizers have not given up memorializing the Lost Cause. To them, the last shots aren't the final shots.

"It is an open wound. It's a sore point," said David McCallister of Save Southern Heritage. "It is between a gas station and a taco stand, it's not in a place of respect."

McCallister sees the empty courthouse courtyard and the fence that surrounds the Brandon monument as a sign of a community abandoning its history.

"No disrespect to the cemetery, but that is just a commercial road," McCallister, standing in the monument's old spot outside the courthouse. "This is where people are honored."

Last summer, white supremacist protests over a Robert E. Lee monument in Virgina left a woman dead. Counties and cities in the Tampa Bay Area reopened discussions about their own monuments. 

Hillsborough, Manatee, Hernando and the city of Lakeland debated statues put up by the United Daughters of the Confederacy between 1910 and 1924, which was 45 to 59 years after the Civil War.

"Instead of talking about the Confederacy's defeat, (they) helped the Lost Cause say, ‘the Confederacy has triumphed. We won the memory,’" said St. Pete College professor Angela Zombek. "Here it is."

Zombek points out the monuments were put up in prominent places just as blacks were being oppressed by the law. 

With Florida leading the way, southern states were instituting poll taxes, literacy tests and convict leasing. 

Though not all dedications included overt racism, the speaker at a Hillsborough statue dedication said: "The South detests and despises all... who... in any manner, encourages social equality with an ignorant and inferior race."

"With African Americans kept away from the polls, they're kept out of public space, and that's where the UDC came in really kind of commandeered public space," said Zombek.

RELATED: Florida Daughters of the Confederacy president supports statue move

Following clashes last summer that nearly turned violent in downtown Bradenton, Manatee County moved their monument to an undisclosed location. We obliged their request to not say where it is stored, so as not to jeopardize public safety. 

They sent us video, instead of allowing us to film it ourselves.

"The intent is not to keep the monument secret," insisted county spokesman Nicholas Azzara. "It is to avoid future sparks of protests and rallies until we find a suitable place where the community does want it."

They're considering Gamble Plantation, a state park where one Confederate official took refuge. 

The Lakeland monument still stands in Munn Park, with discussions scheduled for next week on whether to move it to Roselawn Cemetery or Veterans Park. 

"If it is a Confederate monument, and it is offensive to some, and it is in our downtown, perhaps we should think about moving it," said city of Lakeland spokesman Kevin Cook.